Reflections 1/2/11


Let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year! We have had some special services over the last three Sundays, as well as two on Christmas Eve. They were all wonderful, as they celebrated different aspects of the holiday season. We also took a break from some of the conversations we have been holding about worship and our building. Now it is time to return the "normal" routine. As much fun as the past couple of weeks have been, I am looking forward to preaching again!

You may have noticed, or will notice if you have missed the last couple of weeks, the two porticoes being built in front of the office and kitchen entrances. Many thanks to the Long Range Planning Committee, particularly Jeanne Thompson, Walter Cole, and Johan MacKenzie, for driving the process: getting the necessary permissions and permits from the Historic District Commission and the various other town boards, collecting bids, and hiring the contractor. Whenever I look at these two porticoes, I smile, because I think of Norm Osberg. Seven or eight years ago, either the first or second year in my ministry here, Norm came to a Standing Committee meeting to express his concerns about the two entrances, noting that both become very slippery and icy in the winter. He then presented his sketches of two porticoes, meticulously measured and drawn, that could be built in order to remedy this situation.

Sue Philips noted at our "Leading Congregations Through Change", church time moves in dog years. We are not structured, so to speak, to make changes in a timely manner unless there is a major crisis to fix. We have a classic example right at our doorstep.

Norm would ask me from time to time about his portico plans. I am sad that he did not live long enough to see us follow through with his idea. But knowing Norm, I imagine too that he forgives us and is just glad that we finally got it done! And I am glad to have this reminder of him every time I walk up to the building, as well as less slippery steps to negotiate. If faith is hope in things not yet seen, we have kept faith with Norm. May we continue to keep faith in what we hope to be and become.


I will be offering the "Healing Conversations" course on loss specifically for teens, beginning Tuesday, January 11th from 7 to 8:30 pm. It will run for four Tuesdays. Any teen who has experienced a loss, whether recent or in the past, is welcome. Loss refers not only to a death of a loved one, but could include a divorce in the family or any other significant life event change. If you have not already contacted me or my co-facilitator, Kathy Deschenes, to sign up, please contact me at 978 256-5555 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In faith,

Rev. Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824